Review By: J.
is exactly what a remake should be. It stays true to the
original series in all the right ways, while improving on the
core formula enough to keep it fresh and exciting. It improves
on the classic 2D Contra gameplay by including two handy
new functions, the lock weapon and lock character buttons, and
changing the weapons system, while taking advantage of the
current hardware by showing off some flashy visuals and rich
sound. But be forewarned, though, that Contra: Shattered
Soldier is the most difficult game released in the past 10
years and will definitely give veteran Contra players a
remember the 8-bit days, you will remember Contra. This
quarter munching arcade game stormed its way onto the NES, and
into our living rooms, defying us to complete the game with just
three lives and three continues. Of course the wiser of us would
just put in the classic "Konami code" and get
ourselves 30 extra lives, but even so the game was close to
impossible to beat. Well, that demon of a game is back and this
time it is more exciting, and more brutal, than every before.
This is the
first major 2D return the franchise has seen since Super C
for the SNES. Well, ok, the game levels and character models are
actually 3D, but you only every see two dimensions of them.
Anyway, it still uses the classic formula of side-scrolling,
mild platform jumping, and frantic non-stop shooting that the
first Contra perfected, even though weapon pick ups have
been abandoned in favor of a fixed selection of weapons. Both
characters begin and end the game with a machine gun,
flamethrower, and grenade launcher, each with infinite ammo and
an alternate fire function. Each weapon is better suited for
different situations, and you will often need to rapidly switch
between them all in order to stay alive. And trust me, staying
alive is much easier said than done.
is one of the hardest games to come out in a very, very long
time. Once again the series pits you against an endless assault
of onscreen hazards as you try to make it from one end of the
level to the other in one piece. You will need to perfect your
run through each level in order to make it through the gameís
six stages using only three lives and three continues (one
sitting, no saves), and that will take some serious
trial-and-error to do. Even though the game is brutal, it never
gets frustrating, at least not for veteran old-school gamers,
but you will need to limber up your thumbs. They havenít been
worked this hard in years! Younger, greener, soldiers will
probably have a hard time handling SS and may find the
game too difficult. Luckily for them the 30 live code makes a
return, but once again even that extra boost wonít make the
game much easier.
useful weapons at your disposal are actually the lock weapon and
lock character buttons. In order to survive in this game you
will have to learn how to use them well. The lock weapon button
works like the side-scrolling equivalent of the strafe button,
it lets you to shoot in a fixed direction while moving freely
with the analog stick (or directional pad if you choose). The
lock movement button does the exact opposite; it lets you shoot
in any direction without moving on screen. You will probably use
these buttons just as much as shoot and jump. It gives you a
high degree of control over your movement and attack patterns,
and considering that this game is all about memorizing enemy
patterns and dodging hazards, you will need all the control you
Not all of Contra:
SS is side scrolling. Often, throughout the game, the action
will shift into a forward scrolling sequence, or a Gradius-style
flying sequence, or something similar, and liberally scattered
throughout each level are mini-boss encounters of all shapes and
sizes to keep gamers on their toes.
in this game are tight. The visuals arenít necessarily
eye-pop, but its worth the sacrifice to keep the steady frame
rate this game has. You donít want any slow down while trying
to avoid laser beams and flame throwing robotic ninjas. The only
problem with the graphics is that the character modes for
players one and two look too similar. Gone are the days of
Bright Red Guy and Bright Blue Guy, sticking out like sore
thumbs. Greenish Brown Guy and Brownish Green Girl have replaced
them. And with all the action on screen at once, and two people
that look almost identical hopping and shooting all over the
screen, it is easy to get confused and watch the wrong character
as you loose on of your precious lives somewhere across the
The audio in
the game is equally tight. The music is cool. Its standard metal
fair, but it goes with the mood of the game. Itís nothing
spectacular, its no Meshuggah or anything, but you will
definitely find yourself rocking to the beat. The sound effects
are very nice; lots of explosions, louder explosions, much
louder explosions, deafeningly louder explosionsÖ you get the
Shattered Soldier is
a great game. In fact, you could call it a breath of fresh air.
A white knuckle, teeth kicking, side-scroller is so old itís
new. It makes a great two-player game and provides tons of
replay value considering that it will take you months of
practice to get good enough at the game to beat it in one
sitting. Players who frustrate easily or arenít adept at
side-scrolling shooters from lack of experience may want to stay
at a safe difference. Anyone looking for a classic romp through
the land of emotionally crushing challenge should step right on
up and give this remake the attention it deserves.
remake of Contra.
work perfectly, great use of the new "lock"
- Hard as
all hell, but in a good way.
is pretty cool.
look so similar that two-player games can get confusing.
- Might be a
little too hard.
classic gaming, two-player insanity, and ass-kicking challenges
shouldnít have to think twice about this game. Everyone else
should try not to let this game make them cry in frustration.